What feedback do you have on the options to Fund the Future of SLO?
66 registered statements
I say fully fund your pension liabilities PRIOR to developing new projects and allowing and approving developments as rapidly as you are able WITHOUT consideration of the limits of available utilities such as WATER, ROADS and traffic overload. It would be seriously premature and not in the residents benefit to simply start raising the taxing of the residents to PROVIDE RESOURCES FOR NEW RESIDENTS. WE DO NOT WANT ANY NEW RESIDENTS until it can be shown that water, not money is sufficient to support the myriad dozens of developments this city is proposing. You are way out of line even considering raising taxes on property or sales (if that occurs, we will not shop in slo any longer) for future whatevers that are ill advised at this time. Stay within your budget, and FULLY FUND THE PRESENT SLO. And your current pension requirements. It is a travesty of the first water, to be so shortsighted as to propose to pump up your funding for the future. Where do you guys come up with this stuff? dia hurd We live in a lovely City but there are too many people trying to over engineer the lifestyle here. If you don't have the funds to create a bike path, we are fine without a dedicated bike path through the city. If you can't afford to change the Mission Plaza, then leave it as is. Alternatively, sacrifice your habit of all new vehicles for City Staff or First Responder Vehicles and Double Decker buses that cost millions of dollars. Cities like SLO need to learn to live within a budget. You raised a "temporary sales tax" years back to meet your funding needs and it's never been repealed back as far as I can tell. So my feeling is NO!!!! No on raising taxes - Cut back on some other area in your budget and re prioritize your spending. That's what we as individual tax payers have to do! Our city is head over heels in debt to CalPERS, and yet you want to go on a spending spree for what are mostly "fluff" projects. Mission Plaza is fine as it is. As long as we owe CalPERS over $155 MILLION, we can never be sure any additional taxes will go where they are promised to go. You need to live within your means. People aren't leaving SLO because it's a mess, they are leaving because it is getting entirely too expensive to live here. Raising taxes only exacerbates this. Cut spending, pay down CalPERS, put the NEEDS (not wants) of residents first, and then figure it out. We are in this financial mess in part because you have catered to "wants" at the expense of needs. Grow a backbone and make tough decisions, to major on the majors. No new taxes. Period. The City of San Luis Obispo was founded in1856. Dated and antiquated infrastructure in the 21st century will not meet the future needs of our community. The economic vitality and financial stability of our businesses, our citizens, our government, Cal Poly/Cuesta and our tourists need to be taken into consideration in this evaluation, assuring the needed infrastructure to remain relevant and financially viable in the decades ahead. Too many communities in our state prefer to defer investing in their future, and kick the can down the road. It is human nature to ignore the future, when the current challenges seem daunting. Deferrals of solutions to community needs generally have bad outcomes, and in the long run, are more expensive to cure. At the same time, every community carries forward that year’s fiscal responsibilities. Many communities, unlike SLO, don’t offer community stakeholders the opportunity to share their insights regarding fiscal management; I am grateful that SLO welcomes this kind of citizen input. While, yes, we do have fiscal challenges in our city, I firmly believe we cannot simultaneously ignore the future. The future loss of Diablo Canyon seems to bode loss for our economy; yet, we are growing a high-tech business community, with which SLO can build stronger alliances each year, and upon which SLO can plan and implement community projects. There is no free lunch; we plan and invest collaboratively overtime, doing our collaborative best to avoid large unintended consequences down the road. A combination of sales tax dedicated increases, with long-term city bonds, and other prudent financial techniques is the right way to secure our future. It is past time that this city, and other cities in California, live within our means. Burdening the future with millions of dollars of debt for "nice to do" things makes no sense. Things that "need" to be done include the Prado Road overpass and widening Tank Farm. A new Police station goes along with that too. Mission Plaza and Monterey street? Sure, in an ideal world it would be great to do these "nice to do" projects. But, how about we focus on the other important financial issues facing our community? What about the pensions we've committed to? It may not be fun but we as a community need to fund the CalPers system whether we like it or not. To start spending borrowed money to fix things that are not broken (Mission Plaza, for example) while ignoring the pension issue is not good governing. The pension issues will not solve themselves and need to be addressed. Thank you. San Luis Obispo is unique in that it is one of seven college towns in California and, among these college towns, San Luis Obispo has one of the highest ratio of students per capita in the State. There are approximately 22,000 relatively affluent Cal Poly and Cuesta College students residing in San Luis Obispo. These students cost the City additional community safety expenditures, 44% of the General Fund (see: http://slocity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=16638), infrastructure and transportation expenditures,17% of the General Fund and community and neighborhood livability expenditures, 12% of the General Fund. Owing to the presence of these students, they and their families account for a large share of the City’s bed taxes (TOT’s) and sales taxes. Therefore, it is only logical that part of the City’s $8,900,000 annual budget shortfall should be made up by raising both the City’s bed taxes (per Council Member Rivoire’s suggestion) and sales taxes so that these taxes are more in line with the other six California college towns. For the year 2016-17, SLO’s Transient Occupancy Fund brought in $7,186,000 (see page A1-14 @ http://slocity.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=15625). Note that four of the seven California college towns listed below charge more than 10%. Assessing a bed tax at the same level as Berkeley (12%) would bring in an additional $1,437,200 per year. For the year 2016-17, SLO’s Sales Tax brought in $16,584,000. Note that five of the seven California college towns listed below charge significantly more than 7.75%. Assessing sales taxes at the same level as Davis (8.25%) would bring in an additional $1,069,935 per year. These two increases would bring an additional $2,507,135 per year into the City coffers and this would represent 33% of the City’s budget shortfall. This comes close to your target 30% - 40% in new revenue sources for the $7.5 million share of the total budget shortfall. Transient Occupancy Taxes For California Cities (Bold Type: University Towns) “Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of _____ percent of the rent charged by the operator.” City of Modesto 9% City of San Diego 9% City of San Luis Obispo 10% City of Pismo Beach 10% City of Morro Bay 10% City of Arroyo Grande 10% City of Atascadero 10% City of Paso Robles 10% City of Pacific Grove 10% City of Ventura 10% City of San Jose 10% City of Chico 10% City of Claremont 10% City of Monterey 10.5% City of Santa Cruz 11% City of Berkeley 12% City of Santa Barbara 12% City of Mammoth Lakes 13% City of Davis 14% City of Los Angeles 14% City of San Francisco 14% City of Palo Alto 14% Sales Taxes For California Cities (Bold Type: University Towns) City of Chico 7.25% City of San Diego 7.75% City of Pismo Beach 7.75% City of Morro Bay 7.75% City of Arroyo Grande 7.75% City of Atascadero 7.75% City of Paso Robles 7.75% City of San Luis Obispo 7.75% City of Ventura 7.75% City of Santa Barbara 7.75% City of Mammoth Lakes 7.75% City of Modesto 7.875% City of Davis 8.25% City of San Francisco 8.50% City of Pacific Grove 8.75% City of Monterey 8.75% City of Santa Cruz 9.00% City of Palo Alto 9.00% City of San Jose 9.25% City of Berkeley 9.25% City of Claremont 9.50% City of Los Angeles 9.75% As for meeting the 30% - 40% operating cost reductions, it is clear that both City salaries and positions should be frozen if not reduced. I am unwilling to support any tax increases until the city comes to grips with the homeless situation. Spending more money in the Mission area for improvement of the ampitheater at the time when you have many people sleeping there during the day and bringing their dogs with them, and just generally trashing up the center of tourist district is a ridiculous concept. No additional tax is justified until the city comes to grips with getting the homeless out of tourist areas and our neighborhoods and parks. I do not support the tax increase. The overall budget includes the Pension liability which needs to be dealt with by whatever means to lower the liability. Also, an audit of the previous tax measure shows some money was spent toward staff benefits and/or salaries, redecorating offices, staff retreats, new vehicles for staff, a $4 million software system... the list goes on. MUCH LIKE A FAMILY WITH A CERTAIN MEANS, THE CITY NEEDS TO LEARN TO LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS. Take an overall assessment and cut back where needed if other priorities are more important. Continually adding assessments on the residents is not the solution. The residents have fought tax increases over and over. SLO needs to scale back as Diablo is closing and many of our high paying jobs and our tax base will be leaving. $43M for a government office center, $40M for a women's jail, $15M proposed for a pet facility!!! Enough is enough. Money does not grow on trees. Live within your means, downsize, and be more cost effective. Pensions are too high, salaries are too high, wasteful government practices are everywhere I look. When she was 16, my daughter said to me: "Mom, I learned from you that when you want something, you have to put your priorities in order." She could teach the City a thing or two. I voted for measure G, and I watched crews coating what appeared to be perfectly good streets on Ferrini Heights, while streets like Dana still exist only because potholes are holding hands. Now the city is planning to spend a portion of $1 million and a half on bike tracks in the Anholm neighborhood where it's not needed and not wanted, and another million and a half on bollards to block streets at Farmer's Market, when a few big trucks would work perfectly well. And we see huge buildings rising downtown, and developments like San Luis, Avila Ranch, Froom Ranch, etc., being planned without any concern for infrastructure or the availability of water. Where are the city's priorities? You want us to fund many more millions to give a facelift to Mission Plaza, but you don't have the money to fund pensions. Again, where are your priorities? I suggest that you closely read the comments posted by Allan Cooper (he has good ideas), and forget what you can't afford. As for me, I refuse to vote for new taxes as long as you haven't put your priorities in order. Please don’t raise my property taxes. These taxes are already difficult for me so please be pro-housing stability and don’t raise my taxes. The city is like a spoiled child who wants, wants, wants, not like an adult who recognizes limitations and tries to live within them. So we spend $1.3 million on bollards to protect Farmers Market! (from what? Not from the real threats, guns and explosives) and want to constantly be redoing everything into some shadow of what it once was (MIssion Plaza's just fine as it is). Then the city bullies its residents with stuff like the Anholm Bikeway, builds all sorts of stuff we don't need (the $250K welcome sign on Santa Rosa at Highland), and incessantly whines about not having enough money. It's tiresome, KIds, Grow up! As for sales tax, this is the most regressive tax in the world -- hurts those with the least the most. Doubling our local sales tax is a really obnoxious idea. So are parcel taxes. Paying the city manager's and city attorney's salaries and pensions out of our sewer/water charges because those can be raised every year is obnoxious too, but few know you're doing that. The city must learn, like all of us, to live within its means. It seems there's a total lack of trust anymore because of the antics of folks at city hall. If your revenue enhancements get voted down by the people, well will the city learn anything. or will is just hire another consultant to figure out how to manipulate us into voting yes next time around? Our taxes are high enough in this community. I do not appreciate the mentallity of keeping up with the Jones. We are not Santa Barbara and I don't want to live in Santa Barbara. Our police are fine with the current station. We don't even have the man power to cover the current police station. We down officers. We don't even have a Resource Officer at the High School. Why? The City Council's priorities are so skewed. Please take it to a vote of the community instead of making continual bad decisions like raising taxes. Its expensive enough to live here. San Luis Obispo is frightfully unaffordable. A 1% sales tax will make it 1% less affordable. Property taxes will also force out property owners and renters who are currently on the margins (rents in SLO county are already increasing faster than anywhere else in the state). The SLO city government needs to put more time and attention into trimming itself down so that it can do essential functions in-budget and so that its regulations and fees are less of a burden, and less time and attention into dreaming up ways of spending more of the money of city residents who are already scraping for what they can get. I question the thinking on increasing sales tax levies in the city of SLO, especially when put in the context of other troubling decisions. In the meantime, the Measure G tax already goes on. The "improvements" to LOVR (I use the term loosely) have not helped the worst traffic congestion in the city (between Madonna and Higuera). The oversized building permitted at Chorro and Foothill is really out of place. The downtown construction mess goes on and on and has added significantly to the loss of parking to an already problematic parking situation; very few people want to see any buildings rise above two stories. Thousands of new homes, cars and people on the drawing boards-- yuck, that just sounds like a huge infrastructure problem coming along. So to the immediate question; Want more bike paths? Tax the bikers--they use them I guess. Mission Plaza does not need the improvements listed. Police station...I cant comment on that, because I don't know what is wrong with the one we have. But there are PLENTY of empty storefronts in Madonna Plaza...why cant we use that for police and housing? Can't we try to live within our means?? I will not vote for more bonds or general taxation due to previous waste of my money eg Decorative street tiles now cracking and buckling. Higher taxes on alcohol could pay for more police "protection" and the cannabis tax can pay down the pension "debt". Higher taxes on developers should pay for "infrastructure" 4 the 3,000 new dwellings they bring. Why tax retirees pensions and social security to enhance the carpet baggers profits off newbee residents? and Traffic jams, band width competition, blackouts, and water depletion they will bring? Making just another Dustbowl out of SLO. I'm very much in favor of improving bike access, mission plaza and public services like police and fire. After reading the comments you've received thus far, it seems like you're getting some religious pushback on raising taxes. It's a thing, I get it. I don't like my taxes raised either.... but I also understand that projects take money and a citizen like me that wants to ride his bike more and loves the mission and our safe city should be willing to pay a bit more to get those things. All that said, I think you're going to have to take a multi-faceted approach to this. You can probably raise sales tax a half of a percent and some property taxes marginally, too... but you'll also have to commit to trimming the city budget in places that may require some sacrifice on your part. I have not noticed this myself, but have certainly noted the public perception that the city is fat and happy. You will need to combat that perception in any campaign asking for more funds from your residents. Oh and don't forget the money you can raise from cannabis. From cultivation to distribution, manufacturing and retail... you'd be crazy not to capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity to bring significantly more revenues into the city. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't raise my taxes. It's getting harder and harder for "us", middle income home owner dual income family small business owner, to be able to afford the SLO life. It just seem so irresponsible to ask "us" to keep funding things we can't afford. Please stop this silliness. SLO is already famously unaffordable. Landlords will be able to pass any increase in property taxed onto their tenants. The rental housing market is tight; if the current tenant will not tolerate the increased rent, another tenant will. Rather than compound this problem with another tax on residents, consider raising the bed taxes charged to the visitors staying in the hotels. I am completely against a 400 million dollar upgrade because I haven't heard how the county is going to remedy the situation that they came up 10 million dollar short this past year AND when PG&E Diablo Canyon closes, 85 million will not be pouring into our economy anymore! Having lived in Los Osos since 1983, I am being strangled by tax hikes, sewer fees, sewer pipe improvements, and water rate increases of 195% ! I'm low income and it's going to soon pass a line where I cannot live in the home that I've enjoyed for decades! Please please please don't force gentrification on this County! With recent water / sewer and property tax increases, (not to mention related expenses) I would submit that new development shoulder the costs of infrastructure and that the city SCALE BACK it's plans until there is a sensible plan in place to do so. Mandating a county wide tax hamstrings the populous by overdeveloping & over-promising - but what happens when the exodus begins - (witness Santa Barbara and Ventura) - a sound plan would budget 'needs" & "desires" with practical expenditures and a more cautious approach. I applaud the efforts of our Mayor and Council, City staff, and community members for having the foresight to delve into this important topic. The maintenance and upgrading of our community is vital in so many ways. One of the most important in my mind is maintaining a high degree of attractiveness in San Luis Obispo. To keep up the high level of visitors, ( and the visitor's wallets ), and to help lure the skilled workforce our local industries need. How to fund? I know that with certain factions making development even more expensive can be un-popular, I do think it is a good place to look. Making sure that the developments coming to fruition are paying their fair share of infrastructure improvements is important. Assessment districts could work, and I can't imagine a 1% sales tax increase would cause much heartburn. It would be good to know how SLO compares sale tax wise to other comparable communities, and it is a very good idea to keep the citizenry informed about how the money is spent. I would also like City to study the efficacy of all our dreamy proposals. As a lover of all things cultural, I'm excited by the prospects of the envisioned "Cultural District". A strong component of community attractiveness, I'm doing what I can to advance that. I can see the need for a new Police Station, it must be, what, 45 years old? Our community has grown a bit in those years. Do we really need a new communication center? I don't think it is even 10 years old. We need to be critical in our priorities. So I say "do all of the above" in terms of financing our Community and infrastructure needs. Let's keep San Luis Obispo riding on the top edge of the wave! I would like to know more about this proposal before I could support it or reject it. It is very early in the process. A couple of thoughts 1. If the money is being used for more bike lanes the city council needs to do a better job of working with the neighborhoods. The Broad Street bike way issue was very controversial and has turned people off to what should be a good thing for the city. 2. It must be demonstrated that the money raised by this tax would not just supplant other monies used by the city for these purposes. 3. A long time high priority for the residents of the city of slo has been the acquisition of open space. I would suggest that this be a high priority for the spending of this money. But it must be real and not just lip service for more open space. The residents of SLO have consistently picked open space acquisition as a high priority but the money gets spent on roads, bikelanes and public safety. 4. Since it is so early in the process I am not sure what this money can be spent on. I would love to see the city start a legal challenge to the state in regards to the housing mandates the state is putting on the city. Or if possible use some of the money to revise the general plan so that the city council can have as much discretion as possible when it comes to the approval of projects in the city. 5. Non of this money should be used to stimulate and provide for additional growth in the city. New growth must pay to mitigate all of their impacts to a level of insignificance and if they cannot the city should not cover any of those costs and projects should be denied. 6. Use this money for neighborhood wellness. Foster a positive relationship between the city and the neighborhoods. Respect neighborhood input. 22 Chorro and Palomar are two examples where the neighborhoods have not been respected. I regret that Measure J failed. I appreciate that work needs to be done and wish to see that happen. If another sales-tax based revenue mechanism needs to be created, I would vote for it. My vote will against bond measure G. Sales taxes are too high already. Property taxes are too high already. Do you have any wonder why families and businesses are leaving California in droves? Live like the citizens, and don’t spend what you don’t have. I would be in favor of a sales tax and TOT increase as this put the majority of the burden on tourist dollars. I would not support an increase to property taxes due to our high housing cost in SLO. Funds should be allocated to projects that are ranked on quality of service for all users, environmental mitigation, and potential to generate future revenue. I would also like to know what sort of grants and funding support we would qualify for if we become a self help community by allocating fund as part of a sales tax increase. As a property owner in this city, I am completely against funding public use projects with property taxes. Property owners currently fund bonds for the State Water Project (which we don't have access to), the San Luis Coastal Schools, and Cuesta College. I have lived in my property for almost 20 years and these bonds and fees continue to rise along with my assessed home value. I can't imagine how new property owners can afford their property taxes with the current price of housing and all of the bond add-ons. Tourists, students, renters, and visitors who live outside of our area will use these facilities and I feel it only fair to have them pay their fair share. I would not be opposed to a .5% sales tax increase for a limited time, however, I feel any approved project should have sufficient oversight to ensure that funds collected are used only for the intended project and not funneled into the cities’ budget to fund things like pensions or annual budget shortfalls. I also feel developers should contribute their fair share or provide total funding for road improvements such as the Tank Farm Road project, particularly when the road impacts are a direct result of their project. I am against using limited funds to "enhance" Mission Plaza. The city has many more pressing needs. As a local resident our Plaza is fine the way it is. If the bathroom needs improvement that's reasonable. Thank you. Respectfully, Susan Shalit If we don't invest in retaining a vibrant, attractive downtown, Carmel and Santa Barbara will be happy to do it...and reap the TOT benefits. Please make the case again for our relatively average SLO sales tax percentage against comparable coastal destinations. I'm all for visitors substantially helping residents bear the cost of living here. I'd also like to hear a stronger case for a new police station. The safety folk I know are pretty stoic so I am unaware of any shortcomings in existing facilities. Tell me more so I can support our first responders effectively. I don't know about bike lanes. I just know that how people move around is going to change dramatically in the next 2 + decades- the planning horizon for our professional staff vis parking structures, lane widening, and public transit. Thanks for asking! I oppose raising property or sales tax at this time. The present Council is spending money unnecessarily and utilizing staff time on projects with no purpose other than feeding their own egos. Plastic straws only if you ask or take it yourself, no purchased water bottles unless an athletic event or someone at City Hall says okay, new developments plumbed for solar ( but not installed). Measure G funds have been subject to bait and switch and any funds here will be too. The assertion that we need to raise taxes to fund approved projects demonstrates the error in the thinking and attitude of the CC, City Manager and City Attorney, it is high time to live within our means. Although the City Manager claims the funds won’t be used to pay down our unfunded pension liabilities, these funds will pay for projects that should come from the general funds thereby allowing general fund money to be used for that purpose. The largest sales tax items like car purchases will affect residents and those businesses. The TOT is quite low and not a determining factor in where visitors choose to stay. With all the call for affordable housing, property tax increases will only raise rents and render housing more costly. The property tax is extremely inequitable due to Prop 13. Therefore, I think it not a viable choice for use to fund any City expenses; and would vote against any Propositions using that funding method. Save the city $5.000 a year and improve the quality of our water and life by not putting fluoride in the city water. San Luis Is the only remaining municipality in SLO county that still puts fluoride in the water. Fluoride in the water can really be doing more harm than good. Naturally occurring fluoride is not the same as fluoride manufactured from the waste by products of the uranium manufacturing industry. The idea that the waste dumped into water supplies was so “low level” as to be completely harmless is likely dubious and hopeful at best. Fluoride, a by-product of the nuclear power industry, was one of those constituents, and was transformed from being known as a rat poison to being known as a dental benefit by the original spin doctor and propagandist, Edward Bernays. In his book The Fluoride Deception, author Christopher Bryson revealed how the nuclear industry also used fluoridation of the public water supply as a means of secretly dumping industrial waste after fluoride was a major by-product in the uranium enrichment process for building the atomic bomb. Bryson told Democracy Now: The Manhattan Project needed fluoride to enrich uranium. That’s how they did it. The biggest industrial building in the world, for a time, was the fluoride gaseous diffusion plant in Tennessee the Manhattan Project and Dr. Hodge as the senior toxicologist for the Manhattan Project, were scared stiff less that workers would realize that the fluoride they were going to be breathing inside these plants was going to injury them and that the Manhattan Project, the key — the key of U.S. Strategic power in the Cold War Era, would be jeopardized because the Manhattan Project and the industrial contractors making the atomic bomb would be facing all these lawsuits from workers, all these lawsuits from farmers living around these industrial plants and so Harold Hodge assures us that fluoride is safe and good for children. More recently, an Associated Press investigation found in 2011 that 48 of 65 nuclear sites in the United States were leaking tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, into groundwater supplies via corroded pipes and tunnels. AP found at least 37 locations were in direct violation of federal drinking water standards for tritium, in some cases hundreds of times over. Fluoride has never been approved by the FDA, http://fluoridedangers.blogspot.com/2005/12/fluoride-never-fda-approved-for.html Children could inadvertently be getting too much causing unnecessary harm. Dentist give kids drops, fluoride in toothpaste and the fluoride in the water. There is always a way to get fluoride voluntarily so my suggestion is save the city $5,000 a year and improve the quality of the water by eliminating fluoride in our water. thank you. I'm supportive of taxing visitors first and not taxing residents more. Therefore I'd support increasing TOT first, then possibly raising the sales tax higher (since 70% is paid by non-residents). With all the new hotels being built this should raise a significant amount of $. Also look into other creative ways to generate tax/fee revenue from visitors. The City Mgt/Council should wait to see how much revenue this generates before considering other options. I'm against any increase to property taxes or other taxes that are solely borne by the residents. I applaud the City for calculating all of the proposed projects and giving citizens a view of their overall cost. However, I find myself supporting some projects and opposed to others. I can see the need to upgrade the public safety buildings and some of the bicycle proposals. There are projects that I oppose, such as the redesign of Mission Plaza (I do not think that the redesign is an improvement), the Prado Road interchange, or the bicycle paths that disrupt existing neighborhoods. Consequently, although I am willing to support financing some projects, if presented to me as an entire group, I will oppose funding. I am VERY against raising property or sales taxes. It’s hard enough to afford living here, if this goes through I will certainly be listing my house and moving to south county. The residents should not have to pay for the City’s inability to keep a balanced budget and hire and spend within their means. Modifying bike lanes on Broad is a huge mistake on a heavily traveled road. There are other safe options currently in place for cyclists that they can utilize. Mission Plaza does not need a cafe, there are a plethora of dining options in the downtown core that this would compete with. As it is, the plaza can accommodate larger events very well and shouldn’t be a primary focus of the city aside from installing some additional safety measures. I do not believe that any redevelopment of Mission Plaza is needed other than bathrooms at this time. As far as the emergency operation center, it's not at the police department (which could probably use some freshening up), it's at Fire station number 1 and when I toured it, it seemed perfectly adequate. Other than bed taxes, I will not support any increase of any type of taxes. Asking developers to fund these projects isn't going to help either since all that will do is increase the amount that they ask for new houses or for rent on commercial space. Putting a freeze on all this development however would be a great idea, we're getting way too crowded here. I've paid property taxes for over 30 years in San Luis County and while part of it supposedly goes for the schools, I have not had a student in any of the schools. But have friends that have children in our schools and have friends that are teachers and always hear how they do not have the funds to properly buy supplies or for field trips. In fact I just donated to a friends daughter for a field trip. These teachers are dipping into their own pockets so they will be able to responsibly do what they love to do, teach our future leaders. That's not fair at any level and you want to raise our property taxes for other ventures? It's hard enough living here as it is especially with all the increased taxes from our state. The city needs to live within its means, put away money for a rainy day and save money to fund other expenditures like everybody else should be doing. If I want to buy a new expensive item, I have no one to ask to help me fund it; I have to save the money and then buy it since I don't like to go into debt. Our city and county should do the same thing. Thank you for this opportunity to give our opinions, I hope they are truly taken into consideration! I feel it's asking too much of property owners to chip in more money to help city planners spend money on plans that are a bit eccentric, we are a small town( that was so much less crowded only a few years ago) not a European town built for bicycles and pedestrian only streets. Why not keep it in perspective, improve things we need to see upgraded, no changing the plaza ect.. I'm not sure what responsibility Cal Poly plays as a contributor to these funds, but shouldn't they shoulder some expense along with bed taxes for all they family that also arrives several times a year.? Also I feel they should pay a great portion of the money neede for more police and emergency responders because downtown seems actually like a big campus these days, and the students are a big part of the need for maintaining peace and control . Especially at night here. It's a shame to see large buildings going up in town ( especially the one at foothill and chorro !!). Growth is fine and necessary, but I find the way this town is approaching it is disappointing. Such high density and all the track home projects will hurt us in the end. The lack of neighborhood character and charm will be gone, and downtown will be annoying because the sidewalks aren't wide enough to enjoy walking anywhere with all the crowds of people. I have so many ideas, but don't want to bore you all at one time! I've lived here 32 years and I cry for the town we moved here to live in. My husband and I would not vote for an increase in sales tax or property tax. This and previous councils have expressed they want affordable housing in SLO but making property owners pay more property taxes will not make housing more affordable. Even though visitors pay a larger portion of our sales taxes, we residents have to pay it too, making costs of goods we purchase in the city higher--again making it less affordable to live here. The city needs to live within its means and not ask for money for "wants" as opposed to "needs." That's the way most of us budget our personal finances--the city needs to do the same. It's insulting to ask for more money from residents when our tax dollars have been squandered for expensive unnecessary things like retractable bollards and two way bike tracks that cost millions of dollars. We refuse to vote to fund these types of frivolous, unnecessary things. There are many immediate needs for San Luis Obispo. Building out an amphitheater in the Mission, adding more disruptive bike lanes and roadblocks, and expanding the EOC are not among them. The Mission square is perfectly serviceable as it is and lovely. Maybe renovation of the bathrooms would be ok. We have plenty of bike lines crisscrossing the city and each new addition only serves to cause more congestion and disrupt the neighborhoods in which it exists. The county operates a perfectly fine EOC out at the Kansas Ave. area and there is an existing facility for the City at Firestation 1. So why is this needed? I do not support any increase in sales tax, property tax, bond issues, or other revenue generation beyond what exists today, adjusted for inflation. Look to Cities like Huntington Beach and Santa Ana who have balanced budgets, good infrastructure, and reliable city services without incremental tax burdens on property and business owners. We should look at increasing impact fees for Cal Poly. They should be carrying the burden for increased traffic, police resources, etc. As they build more dorms and increase student enrollment, the city should get a greater source of revenue. Maybe add dorms as transient occupancy tax. Poly is not going anywhere, but consumes a lot of city services, including demands for bike lanes, police, crowd control (rowdy parties etc), and traffic enforcement. Can the City sell off the water district to a private entity? What about contracting to the YMCA or other community organization to operate the Parks and Rec Dept? What about contracting out building maintenance and management to a third party? What about full automation of permitting process, on line records, etc? Can't business, building and other permits be handled on line? Contract fire services to Cal Fire or a private firm. There are many ways to save money so that taxes do not need to be raised, or new debt incurred. I support enhancing Mission Plaza, which has begun to look shabby. Much effort and expense occurred in updating the Mission Plaza Plan. Now it is time to fund its implementation. However, that funding should include support for the arts district surrounding the Plaza, including capital support for new buildings for SLOMA and SLORep and the expansion of public art in Mission Plaza. SLO is a wonderful city and has many terrific aspects already. I won't support any increases in property taxes as I'm a homeowner and feel that living in SLO is financially straining already. The other financing options aren't very appealing either and I'd like to see a more modest approach to capital projects. While some may be necessary, others I feel are a wish list item and don't need to be undertaken right now. Let's not try to make this the best city in California, but the best city for the citizens and many citizens are so happy here and fearful of an additional financial burden. Add my voice to those who oppose this plan. On one hand the City pushes "affordable housing" and then with this proposal asks to make it less affordable. Additionally, I suspect most of the projects would be ones that I don't favor. I'm for a new police station and good bike lines on Tank Farm (no need to make it four lanes all the way, IMHO). Quite honestly, given its track record I don't trust the City to make "improvements" that make the town better. March 20, 2018, 10:48 AM I am a homeowner and live near Cal Poly off of Highland Drive. I think the City budget should work like a family budget, figure out what can be afforded and then pick the project, rather than approving projects that you don't have funding for and imposing the costs on to the residents. I am definitely against having my property tax increased for projects that I don't think are necessary. I've been paying property taxes here in SLO for 27 years and while I approve of keeping up on our infrastructure, I think the projects noted are above and beyond what we actually need. I see downtown buildings and housing developments being built all over town and am wondering what happened to the "slow growth" mantra that used to be in San Luis Obispo planning. Downtown is becoming too gentrified and our current water supplies and streets are already stressed so I do not understand the approval for all the new housing developments and hotels in town. Why are we growing so fast? Let's slow down and do one necessary thing at a time that can be financed through our current sales tax and property tax revenues. The City is trying to be the next Santa Barbara or San Francisco.... Let the Mission take care of the Plaza, they bring in plenty of $$$ and it’s on their property... start doing something about the homeless... forget the waste of $$$ roundabouts... they are not even in the right spots ... the whole info structures of SLO need revamping from the Mayor on down the line... Make SLO great again I will NOT support raising Property Taxes. I pay enough already. Its time for SLO to live with in its means. Find a different way to generate funds for your wish list. Most of our grown children can NOT even afford buying a home here as it is now. Causing many to move away from their home town and leave their family just to make a living. Home Towns should be affordable for family to live and prosper. Right now, Rent is through the roof expensive. Buildings are sitting empty because local businesses can not afford to pay the rent. SLO County seem's to think money grows on trees. Generate a Public Fund Raiser for your projects one at a time and quit acting like spoiled children, who always have their hand out saying "Give me, Give me", at the expense of someone else while those elected in charge take the easy road to funding their Dreams. All of us have Dreams for improvement in many areas of our lives, that does not mean, All dreams come true. I am tired of paying for dreams of elected officials when my children scrape and save just to live here in their home town. Start with the little projects, like the bathrooms at Mission Plaza and have a FUND RAISER to generate those funds for repair. Work your way up to larger projects.. Its called WORK.. It takes WORK to generate funds for a CAUSE.. Its NOT called Raise Taxes at the tune of a 400 Million Dollar Wish List. This wallet is closed and if you all keep this up.. This wallet is leaving the area..Sad because I have been here since 1960 and it is MY home..Quit trying to suck blood out of a Turnip. The Well is Dry. The Wallet Closed.. Find a different way >> Its called WORKING for a cause.. Not Milking someone dry.. We are opposed to more taxation for SLO which under the present Mayor & City Council is working against its residents. "Stakeholders" who do not reside in SLO, are now being represented by the Mayor, City Council & staff who should be representing residents only. The salaries are out of control, lower them & put a hiring freeze in place.. Stop hiring so many expensive administrators & administrative assistants. One of the huge ways to save money is to have staff actually do the work & stop hiring "consultants" who are often clueless about SLO and write what the department heads want. Learn to live within your means, pay down our debts first. We would only be willing to pay for more conservation & preservation of Natural Resources and increasing and preserving the greenbelt. That's not even on your list! In fact the powers that be are not protecting our natural environment in SLO at all and actually think they are "environmentalists." The rest is unnecessary. Police should be out & about and with electronic communication there should be less need for them to be in a building. Cal Poly needs to pay for their share of Police & Fire & other impacts on SLO. Developers need to pay for the increased infrastructure that their projects necessitate. "Fair Share" is not fair to residents. Stop spending money that we do not have & stop ruining the character & quality of SLO with tall, massive buildings! If it can be confirmed that approximately 70% of sales tax is paid for by visitors who live out of County, I could support an increase in the sales tax to help pay for improvements our residents feel is worthwhile. I am not supportive of a parcel tax or general obligation bond. SLO County is consistently one of the least affordable in the country - don't make the problem worse. Additionally, any proposed parcel tax affects ONLY those who own real estate, not the general public. If improvements are going to provide for a public benefit, any solution should be borne by all taxpayers. I vehemently oppose a tax that is directed at a specific, determined group. Many of the statements in opposition to another tax resonate with me, but I struggle because I love our community and know there's a need. As a mother of three young children and wife to a small business owner, I am acutely aware of the stresses of building a life in San Luis Obispo. I count myself among the fortunate to be trying to do just that but I question our ability in the long term as costs continue to rise. I think we need to have more community discussion about the prioritization of projects --- which ones will enhance quality of life for most/all residents? Though I love the Bob Jones trail, perhaps we wait to fund its extension until the Prado Road Interchange and Extension is completed? There is so much work that has gone into thoughtful planning/visioning, but I think we need more discussion about what to execute and when due to budget constraints. I also think more consideration needs to be given to the impact of another sales tax hike on small, locally owned businesses. We talk a lot about small/medium businesses being both an important economic driver and source of character/uniqueness/connectedness in our small town. Continued increases in sales tax drive consumers to online retailers where they are not subject to sales tax. I have a hard time believing this 1% hike would be the last, and I have a hard time believing that consumers will continue to pay more to shop local when the costs of living are rising...and with no end in sight. I do NOT support the plan for a $400 million expenditure. The city council has made much of the shortage of affordable housing, and yet to fund these projects not only do they want to raise the sales tax but they want to add a fee to the property tax. Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways. One of my questions is if the staff has been working on this, and you knew the police station needs replacing, why weren't there any additional developer fees on the 1,200 homes recently approved by the council? These will definitely impact our city, especially tank farm road. For the mission plaza improvement there is mention of a café, why would this be included when there are so many restaurants downtown? As seen from the recent conflict on the bike path on broad street, there is not clear consensus on the need for cross town bike paths, regardless of the council's vision. These additional taxes on top of the recent $.12 gas tax just makes it that much more unaffordable to live in SLO. But this is NOT the most serious issue. The City Manager stated that employee pension shortfalls will not be subject to this tax proposal and that it is a separate issue. That is all well and good except for one little problem. The taxpayers are the ones you are going to come to for fixing the pension problem and then we're faced with additional taxation! I won't support ANY tax increase for these capital projects until the city resolves the unfunded pension liabilities! Unfunded pension liabilities is the most pressing matter facing the city and its residents, and must be addressed FIRST! Let’s live within our means. For the last 15 years, we’ve had our water rates raised annually. We already tried the TEMPORARY sales tax. No to the sales tax. Do not dredge Laguna Lake, cut way back on expensive bike paths. I’ve no intention of voting for proposed city sales tax increase. I have a deep seated belief that I know how to spend my money better than the city does. Enough, I say. There are so many unnecessary projects that money is being wasted on. I am SO tired of going downtown and seeing one project after another underway - do we really need to change the curb access again. It seemed to be working just fine - now, they’re being torn up and redone. And, sadly, I rarely go downtown because of ALL the projects underway - how long has Garden Street re-vamp taken ?? That’s nuts. So use the money you already have, discard unneeded and unnecessary projects - make every dollar count. Tighten up - as citizens, that’s what we are all having to do so the city needs to do the same. NO MORE TAXES. Given the current fiscal crisis, capital projects should be postponed. There should be a focus on delivering critical services, based upon my observations, there is not a critical need for additional capital projects at this time. These should be postponed. Consider contracting out fire department and other city services. Consolidate with the County and/or CalPoly to reduce duplication of effort and maximize economy. There are many similar services provided within the three agencies which could be consolidated. I am against the extra tax. Some of the proposed projects should be put off until we have more information on how the closing of Diablo Canyon will effect available funds. Also, how is taxing current home owners into homelessness helping the homeless and housing situation? It is good that the City is looking at costs for projects that residents want. To fund these projects, I support the sales tax measure in conjunction with revising all pension plans (including police and fire) to align with the typical private sector plans. It is not sustainable nor necessary to pay retired "safety" personal a defined benefit retirement plan of 90% of their $140,000 annual salary starting when they are 50 years old. The city needs to prioritize wants vs needs. We need Prado extended and an interchange built. We need new police and fire stations. We could use an extended railroad safety trail. Bob Jones completion is a want, not a need. We do need to replace aging water distribution infrastructure. In the face of changing climate and rain patterns, and extended drought periods, we can not have nearly 100 year old water mains under our streets breaking and losing thousands or millions of gallons of water every year. We need to replace this aging infrastructure. More people on bikes in SLO is not going to impact this global change, so while some may want to, we do not need to spend money on bike boulevards. I can not vote for yet another increase to our already incredibly expensive cost of living here, without a modification or elimination of other pet projects that are a want and at this point wasteful in comparison to the needs of SLO. Reset priorities, eliminate pet project waste, and then present it again. I am very interested in seeing cross town infrastructure improvements (widening of Tank Farm Road, extending Prado Road to Industrial Way/Broad Street) as we really need those. I am interested in new/ remodels for public safety including police, dispatch, and fire department facilities. While these improvements may not be as visible as the downtown Mission Plaza project, they are essential to the health and safety of our community. This: Extending cross-town corridors and separated bike paths (such as the Prado Road extension, Tank Farm Road widening and completion of the Bob Jones and Railroad Safety Trails) to better provide for bicycling as a transportation mode of choice. I would vote yes for the tax on this provision alone. All of the people saying that bike paths are too expensive, please remember that ALL roads are expensive, and that even people who don't drive cars pay for them through taxes. We need a much better connected network of streets where people who choose not to burn fossil fuels on their commutes can bike and walk safely. The climate is changing and we need to change with it or perish. Not currently a resident but I will be very soon. I could support a bond or sales tax increase dedicated to significant improvements to the cycling infrastructure. I would ride instead of drive if the cycling infrastructure made it more practical and safer to do so. Any increases I would pay in taxes could be partially offset by fewer expenses for auto use. Not to mention it would be one less car on the streets and the added health benefits of cycling rather than driving. I am a 40 year resident of San Luis Obispo, and a retired public safety employee. While all of the goals listed are worth, I would like to give my overwhelming support to protected bike lanes, and improving cross town bike safety. It's good for the environment, it's good for residents health, and it provides safer transportation. Michael Harkness I support raising the sales tax to 1% to fund projects including prioritizing upgrading the bathrooms on Mission Plaza and a renovated police station. The City owns property on Walnut adjacent to the existing station and should try to acquire Ilan Funke Bilu's property. A new wing could be built utilizing that next door property as well as building over the downhill parking lot. This would allow the present station to continue in use until the new wing is completed, at which time the present station could be renovated. Look to the police station renovation in Grover Beach for an example of police officer design and thrifty budgeting. As more and more housing is added to the City, we will need a fifth fire station to maintain standard response times. This cost should be borne by the new neighborhoods as a special benefit district or cfd. The public benefit portion of the Prado overpass (not full interchange) construction could be partially funded by the increased sales tax. I oppose a city wide increase in property tax. Open space preservation and acquisition (Miossi) is a top priority for city residents and should be paid for through revenue enhancement funds. I support increased bicycle and pedestrian safety projects, but they should not take priority over maintenance of present roadways, traffic mitigation, parking or the well being of established neighborhoods. The needs of older and disabled city residents, their inability to use bicycles and their obvious reliance on automobiles should not continue to be discounted or ignored. I prefer a sales tax to a property tax as it is "user" oriented. We cannot afford to have the 50% full-time and 50% land-lords w/ transient residents continue to foot the bill. We are moving toward a "usage-tax" environment. If you use it, you pay (sales tax.) If you don't use it you maintain the infrastructure you benefit from (Property Tax.) Not unlike Europe which has dealt with this situation hundreds of years before us in the USA, the "Value Added Tax" (i.e.: "Sales Tax"), is more fairly and evenly distributed and economically efficiently measured, and collected. There is no "perfect solution." One can only hope to "cover" costs and plan for needed maintenance of critical infrastructure. I am a San Luis Obispo resident, property owner, and landlord. I would vote in favor of a 1% sales tax to ‘fund the future of slo’. I am against an increase in property taxes. Thank you. Alongside the proposed property tax, let's consider a vacant parcel tax in an effort to help relieve the massive housing shortage that's crippling our economy. ALL developers need to pay City's fees for services including water, wastewater, roadways, public safety and parks . There should be no sliding scale. Come back and talk to the voters about future funding when residents aren't asked to subsidize developers' fees. Thank you. If current revenue wont support proposed projects, then the admin should pare the project list or find other funding sources instead of proposing such a large tax increase. While most of the revenue will come from visitors, I am not a visitor and will still need to pay sales and possibly property tax also. We're already paying more taxes to fund school imprvements, worthy projects that benefit everyone. I dont want to pay more to fund more bike lanes, which benefit a small fraction of the population. Cut back the list.
Michael Higgins inside Neighborhood 1
May 4, 2018, 11:12 AM
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May 2, 2018, 8:47 AM
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April 25, 2018, 12:35 PM
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April 9, 2018, 12:41 PM
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April 5, 2018, 6:23 PM
Jan Marx inside Neighborhood 2
April 4, 2018, 9:13 AM
Mike Harkness inside Neighborhood 3
April 3, 2018, 5:12 PM
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April 3, 2018, 4:46 PM
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April 3, 2018, 10:47 AM
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March 31, 2018, 3:47 PM
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